Poor planning puts airplane in drink

Aircraft: Skybolt. Injuries: None. Location: Sarasota, Fla. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: About a month before the accident, the pilot added about 17 gallons of fuel to the bottom fuel tank. About 25 minutes into the accident flight, the engine experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot ditched the airplane in the Gulf of Mexico, and it sank. The wreckage was recovered.

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Vacuum failure, inadequate assistance from ATC proves fatal

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Parkton, N.C. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The private pilot, 63, who had logged more than 1,000 hours, took three tries to get his instrument ticket. He failed the checkride twice because he failed the “air traffic control clearances and procedures,” “instrument approach procedures,” and “emergency operations” areas of operations, with special emphasis on partial panel. After additional training he was able to obtain the instrument rating in August 2003.

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Improper parts for Piper

Aircraft: Piper Arrow. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Lock Haven, Pa. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, when the airplane was in cruise flight at 7,500 feet, the engine began to “surge,” then stopped producing power. The pilot selected a forced landing area in a clearing, but the plane lacked enough altitude to make it to the field and it crashed in trees before reaching the clearing.

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Wind shift bends Cessna

Aircraft: Cessna 182. Injuries: None. Location: Bellview, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: Before setting up to practice touch-and-go landings, the pilot overflew the airport, checked the windsock, and verified the wind was from the south at 10 knots. He entered the traffic pattern for a landing on runway 15.

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VFR pilot descends into fog

Aircraft: Bellanca 7ECA. Injuries: None. Location: Tehachapi, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The accident occurred just before dusk. The non-instrument-rated pilot stated that prior to departure, weather reports indicated that clear skies prevailed at the departure airport with patches of fog at his destination. Despite the possibility of fog, he decided to attempt the flight with the intention of diverting to an alternate airport if the weather conditions deteriorated.

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Student pilot hit by propeller

Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Albermarle, N.C. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot and flight instructor had landed, parked, and secured the airplane. They returned about 15 minutes later and attempted to restart the airplane but were unable to do so.

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